Fetus Inside Ancient Egyptian Mummy Preserved Like ‘Pickled Egg,’ Scientists Say

Fetus Inside Ancient Egyptian Mummy Preserved Like 'Pickled Egg,' Scientists Say
Fetus Inside Ancient Egyptian Mummy Preserved Like 'Pickled Egg,' Scientists Say

Africa-Press – Liberia. The researchers also explained how the fetus’ bones likely underwent a demineralisation process due to acidification of the “mother’s” body.

A team of researchers has managed to uncover the mystery behind a preserved fetus that was found inside a mummy of an ancient Egyptian woman.

According to ScienceAlert, the research by the Warsaw Mummy Project postulates that the fetus was preserved due to the acidification of the woman’s body during the decomposition of the latter, and compares the process to pickling an egg.

“The fetus remained in the untouched uterus and began to, let’s say, ‘pickle.’ It is not the most aesthetic comparison, but conveys the idea,” the researchers explain. “Blood pH in corpses, including content of the uterus, falls significantly, becoming more acidic, concentrations of ammonia and formic acid increase with time. The placement and filling of the body with natron [a salt mixture collected from dry lake beds] significantly limited the access of air and oxygen. The end result is an almost hermetically sealed uterus containing the fetus.”

The media outlet also notes that while radiologist from Cairo University named Sahar Saleem previously questioned the discovery of the fetus, pointing out that no fetal bones were detected in the mummy’s scans, the researchers, led by bio-archaeologist Marzena Ożarek-Szilke of the University of Warsaw in Poland and archaeologist Wojciech Ejsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences, argue that these bones were demineralized due to acidifying processes in the mummy’s body.

“This process of bone demineralization in an acidic environment can be compared to an experiment with an egg,” they postulate. “Picture putting an egg into a pot filled with an acid. The eggshell is dissolving, leaving only the inside of the egg (albumen and yolk) and the minerals from the eggshell dissolved in the acid.”

These results may hint at the possibility of other “pregnant mummies” being out there, as scans of such human remains usually identify bones and “amulets tucked inside their wrappings,” the media outlet adds.

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